Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I read the news today oh boy!

Each morning I wake early, get dressed, pick up my backpack and motor off to work. Once there I make my double espresso and sit down in front of my screen, browse my email (which I have checked before I leave home to see if anything really important came in overnight), I then go through the newspapers. This may be a mistake. For example, I was confronted with the following, this morning:

Jerusalem rugby team denied funding from city hall because they play on Shabbat. This is not really surprising I suppose, but I love the questions the idiots that make these decision ask. I especially like the double standard when asked about Beitar Jerusalem's soccer team that plays on the Shabbat.

Then the even more distressing news is that young Israelis are moving more to the right. We are doing a great job of educating our young it seems.

Finally I read Yaron Lodon's editorial in Ynet titled "What will I tell my grandkids?". Lodon is one of the more intelligent people around here. He addresses a fact that I find I must resolve for myself almost daily - Israel is really not the only place for Jews today and often it seems like it's actually the last place Jews with a choice should live.

Maybe I should just take the next step and stick my head in the sand and stop reading the papers, just like I stopped listening to radio and watching television. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rabbitt Rules - OK!

It's been a week, I know. The wife got back yesterday chock full of stories of Africa. So I found this on the YouTubes. When I was growing up, Rabbitt was everything that was wrong with the world. It was why the cool chicks would never go out with us and why Paul and I spent Saturday nights either in the darkroom or walking the streets of PE.  1976 - I was 16. Check this out (if you can stomach it).

p.s. I will try get back into blogging. No promises though.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I really like this song.  I have had it stuck in my head for days.  This is an excellent version, a little slow, but this chap has an enormous voice.  The Editors with "Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors".

Monday, March 21, 2011

Inherit The Wind

The boy and I spent some quality time together this evening, seeing as the wife is in Africa.  We watched one of my favorite movies of all time "Inherit The Wind".  The boy is very into evolution and has been wanting to watch the movie which is based on the Scopes Monkey Trial for a while now.  It really is a superb movie and I haven't seen it for a few years.  Spencer Tracy does one of the best acting jobs I have ever seen.  And even though the defendant (modeled on Scopes) is actually Darren from Bewitched and the judge is Colonel Potter from MASH, the movie is so good you can look past these small inconveniences. What is amazing is that it was nominated for four Academy Awards and never won a single one. If you haven't seen it recently, do yourself a favor, it's worth it even though it is in B+W. It is another of the good things brought to you by the year 1960.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sticky Tape

Today I put together a wooden fixture for the girl's room. It's really just a bunch of black wooden cubes. One of those cheap chipboard pieces of junk from Office Depot. I used to enjoy doing this kind of work. Back in the days, furniture that you assembled yourself came with reasonable instructions (Ikea's never even needed words) and sort of fit together. It was kind of like making a puzzle. This junk is made in China, need I say more.

I got to thinking about the state of our world. Things are now generally inexpensive, but these days it is almost impossible to find anything of quality. I have started calling this the "sticky tape phenomenon". When I was young, sticky tape was expensive. You did not waste it. It was even called Scotch Tape in our house, because the Scotch company were the people who made the good tape. It worked. You could stick things together. Most importantly you could find the end of the tape once you put it away and it was possible to pull out a length as long as you needed without it breaking or running and ending up with an ever decreasing strip. Today, sticky tape is cheap. It comes in packs of 10 and they cost next to nothing. But it just doesn't work. You cannot find the end and even if you do, you need razor sharp nails to extract it. When you do try use it, it is completely weak. It breaks and runs and is all over a frustrating experience.

The "sticky tape phenomenon" is everywhere these days. Everywhere we find cheap, cheap goods, that just don't work properly. Phone calls are another example. Sure calls today cost very little today. I can call the US for a fraction of what it cost 10 years back. It is even free if you skype. But the quality is terrible. I have had to be on many international calls this week and half the time no one can understand what the other side is saying. I'm not even talking about the call quality we've got used to with cell phones.

I understand that you can find quality if you are prepared to pay, but even finding it these days is not easy. Just try finding good quality sticky tape (or yellow writing pads) these days. You need to go to a specialty art store because none of the chains carry anything but the lowest quality, cheapest crap.

Now there are those who say it is China's fault. I don't buy it. Clearly we would rather pay less and deal with lousy quality. China is just scratching our itch. I am definitely one for less is more.

Back to the black cubes. I got most of it together by squinting at the hopelessly photocopied instructions. At the last stage, putting on the top, I noticed that they had not included the "green screwing postes" required to secure the last board. Now what? This has a long way to go before it even approached 80%.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I don't mean to post twice in the same day, but I found this interesting site (if you read Hebrew that is) I think you should know about. It's the israeli Government's 2010 budget. I was trying to find out how much money is spent on archaeological sites (or even what the Parks and Nature Department, who run most of the sites are budgeted) but could not find much mention.  Check it out. 2% to Higher Education and 9.6% to the Education Ministry, 22% to debt repayment and 14% to the Ministry of Defense. Very interesting indeed.

Morning Teleportation

Another nephew b-Edwino nominated music post. Very strange, weird video, all in all quite confusing, but strangely enchanting. Enjoy Morning Teleportation and Expanding Anyway.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Satelite Pictures.

I, like many, have been obsessed with watching pictures and videos of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. It is beyond believe.  The pictures that really bring it home are these satellite pictures from the New York Times. Just move the slider to see the before and after. Unbelievable.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Monkey's weddings and long drops

Two important links to show you today.  Firstly, we had a "monkey's wedding" today.  You know, when it rains but the sun is shining.  I asked the squints what's the Hebrew equivalent and it seems there isn't one.  The wikipedia page on the origins of the phrase "monkey's wedding" is worth reading (it's short).

In other news. Denise (who's birthday was a few days back, Happy Birthday) pointed me to the excellent  page of improvised toilets in Christchurch after their horrendous earthquake a few weeks back. They have no sewerage or running water - check these out.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Shins

Shirley sent me a pointer to this excellent video by the Shins. Enjoy, Phantom Limb.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Parking Lot

Last night I had a meeting in Tel Aviv far down Ibn Gvirol street. I was advised by Carmit (who knows these things) to park in the new parking lot under Hechal HaTarbut (Mann Auditorium, Bimah Theater). Wow. It is one of those spiffy space age parking lots that have floors that are so clean and coated that the tires squeal like running shoes on the squeaky clean floors at work.  They have lights over each parking spot that light up red if occupied and green if clear.  This way you can glace down a row and see if there is a parking spot available.  The entrance has back-lighted pillars that sparkle and glitter in a most pleasant and relaxing way.  A very slick, clean and functional place, that is worth visiting now while it's new and not yet sticky. It definitely deserves the full 80%.

Of course, the elevators were not working, and there was no sign or explanation covering this issue.  I met an old lady who had been waiting for the elevators for a while (she may have been in her teens when she drove in). I helped her walk up the three flights of stairs to the very nice courtyard in front of the theaters. The elevators were blocked off on the ground floor with yellow police tape.

The evening's parking cost 24NIS.  I could have parked for 14NIS in a grubby lot a block closer to my meeting on Marmarek, but then I would have missed out on this Rolls Royce of a parking lot.  It's definitely worth a visit.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Our boy is 20 years old today.  It is quite unbelievable actually.  He is a sweet, kind, gentle, if messy soul.  He games too much but takes his work quite seriously. He is smarter than your average bear and all in all someone we are most proud of. The drummer he marches to is so different that he may actually be playing the bagpipes. Happy Birthday boy, may your life be happy and calm and filled with joy. There is no doubt you will find a place and make a difference. We could not have wished for better.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Who By Fire

Blackwifeo sent me this song to post.  And just who am I to refuse.